Skip to main content

Full text of "Vindication of the rights of brutes (1792"

See other formats



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



^ c 






Thomas Taylor 




Louise Schutz Boas 

Gainesville, Florida 



1605 N.W. 14th Avenue 

Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A. 

Harry R. Warfel, General Editor 





L.C. Catalog Card Numrer: 66-60010 






A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes is one of 
the rarest items among the numerous works of 
Thomas Taylor the Platonist (1758-1835). A com- 
paratively young man, he had already published 
a book on "a new method of reasoning in geome- 
try, applied to the rectification of the circle," a para- 
phrase of Ocellus Lucanus on the nature of the 
universe, translations of the hymns of Orpheus in- 
cluding a dissertation on Orpheus, a paraphrase 
of Plotinus on "The Beautiful," the mathematical 
commentaries of Proclus on Euclid's Elements, 
and a dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic 

In spite of its background of classical reference, 
A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes is out of line 
with Taylor's other works, a diversion from his self- 
dedicated task of translating and elucidating the 
Greek philosophers. It takes note of a current con- 
troversy. It negates the usual picture of Taylor 
with his head in the clouds, living, in effect, in the 
ancient world, unaware of his times, a scholar 
without wit or a sense of humor. 


A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes is an exer- 
cise in irony, a witty, merry book in which Taylor, 
using the weapon of laughter, professed agree- 
ment with the radical ideas recently published by 
two of his friends, Mary Wollstonecraft and 
Thomas Paine, and by carrying these to their logi- 
cal extremes, reduced them to absurdity. That it 
was their ideas which eventually triumphed does 
not lessen the reader's enjoyment of his wit, or 
alter the usefulness of his parody of what he re- 
garded as an oversimplification of the nature 
of man, an over-generalization of the worth of all 
men, and an egalitarianism he could not accept. 

Indirectly Taylor's mock-serious defence of the 
rights of brutes stemmed from the publication in 
November 1790, little more than a year after the 
storming of the Bastille, of Edmund Burke's un- 
sympathetic Reflections on the French Revolution. 
This book led to an immediate reply from Mary 
Wollstonecraft; two editions of her open letter to 
Burke, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, were 
published in November 1790, followed in 1792 by 
her more famous A Vindication of the Rights of 
Woman. Of the great spate of refutations of 
Burke's Reflections the most powerful, famous, and 
effective was Thomas Paine's Rights of Man, writ- 
ten in 1790, published in London in 1791, and 
swiftly banned; to own or to sell a copy was a crim- 
inal offence, but four months later Paine wrote to 
his friend George Washington that already eleven 
thousand of the sixteen thousand copies printed 


had been sold. Paine, very helpful in the Ameri- 
can Revolution, was now active in the French 
Revolution, with a seat at the Convention. He had 
left England for Paris before this first part of the 
Rights of Man was published; he returned, but in 
1792 when the second part was published he fled 
to France to avoid the trial for seditious libel it 
provoked. The magic phrase, "the rights of man," 
used decorously in America, was in France highly 
inflammatory, as indeed it tends to be today when 
on all sides, in many parts of the modern world, 
there are repetitive cries of the right to strike, to 
vote, to assemble, to march, to demonstrate. 

Mary Wollstonecraft as a guest in Taylor's 
home had called his study "the abode of peace." 
He was not in sympathy with her radical ideas or 
those of Paine; he was not an advocate of an egal- 
itarian world, but if they insisted upon agitation 
for this, he could show them how much farther 
they must carry their theories. His Vindication of 
the Rights of Brutes (London, 1792; Boston, 
Massachusetts, 1795) endeavors to demonstrate 
that who has said A must say B; and that B leads 
on to an unforeseen Z. 

A spirit somewhat similar to Taylor's motivated 
a discussion in the United Nations in May 1964 on 
the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of Mauri- 
tius and the Seychelles: it was pointed out that 
the first, dodos, were now extinct, and the second, 
giant tortoises, were uninterested in politics. 



Thomas Taylor the Platonist was one of those 
men who become legends in their own day, about 
whom myths accrue; who, admired, decried, or 
mocked, are the subjects of numerous articles dur- 
ing their lives and long after; who appear as char- 
acters in contemporary novels [Taylor is the 
"modern Platonist" in Isaac Disraeli's Vaurien 
published in 1797]; who give inspiration to famous 
men [Emerson was almost a disciple of Taylor]; 
and who provide textbooks for generations of 
schoolboys [some of Taylor's translations were still 
in use in 1945]. In 1848 Emerson, in conversation 
with the aging Wordsworth, declared it a flaw in 
the English character that Taylor was so little 
known, "whilst in every American library, his 
translations are found." 

Thomas Taylor was born in London in 1758 at 
the time of Halley's comet, to "poor but worthy 
parents." At eight he was sent to a famous school, 
St. Paul's, founded in the early sixteenth century 
by John Colet for boys "who could already read 
and write and who were of good capacity" for 
"a sound Christian education and the knowledge 
of Greek and Latin." Three years later Taylor, 
nicknamed "philosopher," persuaded his father to 
permit him to continue his studies at home. From 
fifteen to eighteen he lived with an uncle at Sheer- 
ness, studying assiduously and developing an in- 


terest in speculative philosophy. From eighteen to 
twenty he studied under a dissenting minister, be- 
cause his father, interested in modern theology, 
wished him to become a clergyman and disap- 
proved of his mathematical studies. He was now 
ready to enter the university at Aberdeen. 

But at the age of twelve Taylor had fallen in 
love with Mary Morton and, remeeting her, had 
been spending his evenings courting her. A secret 
marriage to save her from the wealthy suitor fa- 
vored by her father was soon discovered and the 
anger of both fathers made it necessary for Taylor 
to earn his living. The only post available was at a 
distant boarding school, from which he was res- 
cued by a friend who secured for him a clerkship 
at a banking house. Poorly paid, he remained 
there for six years, fortunately provided by an- 
other friend with a suitable house at Walford. 
Comparatively secure, he pursued his studies at 
night, augmenting his income by published 

To improve his finances he turned to invention, 
experimenting with phosphorus which, immersed 
in a mixture of salt and oil boiled together, burned 
with great brilliance and threw a circle of light a 
yard wide. Having constructed his "perpetual 
lamp," he held an exhibition to which too large a 
group came; the room became overheated and the 
lamp exploded. Nevertheless, the lamp proved the 
foundation of a modest fortune for him through 


the interest taken in it and the lecture he had given 
on light, by some of the spectators, wealthy and 
influential men. The retired merchant William 
Meredith and his architect brother George, who 
were interested in the Greek philosophers, found 
a market for Taylor's dissertations and his transla- 
tions from the Greek. The popular sculptor Flax- 
man lent his home for a series of twelve lectures 
on Plato, with audiences of distinguished people 
many of whom became Taylor's friends. 

In 1798 Taylor was appointed assistant secre- 
tary of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, 
Manufactures, and Commerce in London. In rec- 
ommending him Samuel Paterson, well-known 
bookseller, publisher, and bibliographer, librarian 
to the Marquis of Lansdowne, wrote: "I only re- 
gret that a man who has the learning and abili- 
ties sufficient to govern a City, or even a province, 
should have no higher prospect in view than the 
doubtful succession to a Deputyship of inconsider- 
able emolument." Taylor from 1798 to 1806 appar- 
ently found the post congenial and was an efficient 
and sedulous assistant to his superior executive, as 
existing letters prove. 

In 1802 he visited Oxford, possibly with the 
thought of an appointment there, though he was 
self-taught and not a professional scholar, and his 
translations had not been favorably noticed by the 
Greek professor, Richard Porson. He was kindly 
received by the Dean of Christ Church who spoke 


admiringly of his books and wished to subscribe 
to his translation of the complete works of Plato. 
Heads of other colleges and professors of history, 
and especially the professors at New College where 
he was staying, were cordial; he had free access to 
the Bodleian Library at all times, and found there 
the manuscripts he had been seeking. Oxford's 
Gothic Halls he found gloomy and melancholy 
and he returned to London gladly; no offer had 
been made. 

Through the generosity of the president of the 
Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Charles 
Howard, the eleventh Duke of Norfolk, who was 
interested in Plato, and that of William Meredith, 
who was interested in Aristotle, Taylor was able to 
resign his post in 1806 and spend his remaining 
years, 1806-1835, in the work he loved, leaving be- 
hind him an astonishing number of translations, 
including the complete works of Plato and Aris- 
totle, and a creditable number of original works, 
both prose and poetry. The Duke of Norfolk 
guaranteed the costs of his Plato, the first complete 
edition in English, so that by 1805 Taylor could 
include this in the list of his published translations 
printed at the back of his Miscellanies in Prose and 
Verse. Six volumes were listed there, but in the end 
when the final volume was finished there were five 
volumes, the first containing the translations of an- 
other self-dedicated Platonist, Floyer Sydenham 
who, finding no interested public and no patron, 


had died of starvation. Taylor's beautifully print- 
ed volumes were not offered for sale; they were de- 
posited in the Duke's library at Arundel Castle and 
not dispersed until 1848. Taylor may have re- 
tained some sets aside from presentation copies, 
for in 1818, three years after the death of the Duke, 
another advertisement appeared in the list on the 
back pages of Taylor's lamblichus Life of Pythag- 
oras, priced at ten pounds and ten shillings the 

The Duke's action in effectively suppressing the 
Plato was not an arbitrary decision. Plato was in 
disfavor as a pagan; Taylor was sometimes re- 
ferred to as a pagan, as one who wished to over- 
throw the Christian religion and re-establish the 
Greek gods. He was reputed to have statues of 
pagan gods in his study, to pour libations to them, 
to have been expelled by his landlady for trying 
to sacrifice a bull in his room, to have sacrificed 
a goat in some public place, absurdities which 
may have some slight basis in boyish pranks but 
are, except perhaps an occasional libation, mere 
gossip. Taylor had no landlady — he owned his 
house and was happily married, having firm views 
on monogamy and domestic responsibility, at odds 
with the views of Mary Wollstonecraft. He had 
not yet published the anti-Christian arguments of 
the Emperor Julian or the translation of Celsus' 
irreverences, both of which were suppressed 
(copies are still available in a few libraries). He 


was, however, known as an admirer of the an- 
cient theology which he interpreted allegoricaHy. 
That he and his unorthodox views were well 
known by 1797 is attested by Disraeli's chapters 
in Vaurien where Vaurien goes to visit "the Pla- 
tonist" and talks at length with him. DTsraeli 
shows familiarity with Taylor's publications, in- 
cluding the Vindication of the Rights of Brutes. 


Mary Wollstonecraft's Rights of Men was not 
concerned wholly with political rights or the in- 
justices suffered by the poor. She was angered by 
Burke's tendency to "vitiate reason" which she 
postulated as man's highest quality, leading him 
to virtue, and so distinguishing him from the ani- 
mals, who have not the gift of reason. This is the 
sounding board for Taylor, who sets out to prove 
that animals have reason; he supports his thesis 
with multiple quotation from the Greek philoso- 
phers, thereby making his point without direct 
statement that men are not equally blessed with 
reason. He believed that "in every class of beings 
in the universe . . . there is a first, a middle, and a 
last, in order that the progression of things may 
form one unbroken chain, originating in deity, 
and terminating in matter ... a golden chain of 
beings" formed by the first and smallest class, the 
multitude forming the lowest. He set out therefore 


to show the impracticability of an egalitarian so- 

Quite sincerely he accepted reason as higher in 
man than in the brute creation but went on, as to- 
day's computer might do, to equate the whole 
brute with the whole man. Man's strength is less 
than that of the lion, his eye inferior to that of the 
fly, he lacks the bird's art of flying, and the 
fish's knowledge of submarine navigation. The 
sum total of gifts plus reason of the brutes seems 
level with man's reason minus these skills; the 
intrinsic worth of all created things is the same. 

Taylor by manifold illustration showed that ani- 
mals have long been known to have reason and to 
communicate with one another. If men diligently 
studied the language of little known peoples they 
would find them intelligible; similarly the lan- 
guages of animals could be learned. It follows that 
man would change his attitude toward animals — 
and refrain from eating them. In our modern 
world we are told that men will before long be able 
to converse with dolphins whose brain is remark- 
ably like the human brain. Taylor would have 
been interested, but his purpose here was mock- 
ery; he found in Plutarch and others a wealth of 
anecdote of loving and intelligent animals: oxen 
who could count to one hundred, the number of 
pails of water each carried daily to the King's gar- 
dens; elephants who were clever and affectionate, 
especially to ladies; magpies who were natural mu- 


sicians, and dogs who were natural actors. An or- 
chestra of magpies and an acting company of dogs 
could provide much public entertainment, and 
their wages, because animals care nothing for 
money, could be used to reduce the national 

The worship of animals, and the statues of gods 
with animal heads or bodies Taylor offered as an 
indication of the high estimation in which men 
have held the brute creation whose rights he was 
now demanding. Lacking time to pursue the mat- 
ter further, he left to others the task of vindicating 
the rights of rocks and stones and trees, and the 
very dust beneath men's feet. Then the truth of 
equality established, "government may be entirely 
subverted, subordinated, abolished; and all things 
everywhere, and in every respect, be common to 

This triumphant conclusion was the final arrow 
in his quiver. In his future works he reiterated his 
firm belief that he "who has not even a knowledge 
of common things is a brute among men. He who 
has an accurate knowledge of human concerns 
alone, is a man among brutes. He who knows all 
that can be known by intellectual energy is a God 
among men." 

Louise Schutz Boas 

Huntington Library 

San Marino, California 

January, 1965 


The copy here reproduced, somewhat enlarged, 
of Thomas Taylor's A Vindication of the Rights of 
Brutes, is reprinted with the kind permission of the 
British Museum. It is the only known copy of the 
London edition of 1792; search has been made in 
many libraries in England and America. Two cop- 
ies of the edition published in Boston, Massachu- 
setts, in 1795 are recorded: one is in the Library of 
Congress, and one is in the American Antiquarian 
Society. These two copies have some slight varia- 
tions in the preface and pagination. The American 
edition is octavo with fifty-eight pages as against 
the first edition's one hundred and three. 





Quid rides? 



I iii ] 


JlHE particular defign of the following 
fleets, is to evince by demonjlrative argu- 
ment s> the perfect equality of what is called 
the irrational f pedes, to the human ; hut 
it has likewife a more general dejign ; and 
this is no other, than to ejlablijl) the equality 
of all things, as to their intrinfic dignity 
and worth. Indeed, after thofe wonderful 
productions of Mr. Paine and Mrs. 
Woolstoncraft, fuch a theory as the 
prefcnt, feems to he necejjary, in order to 


give perfection to our refearches into the 
rights of things; and in fuch an age of 
difcovery and independence as the prefent, 
the author flatters himfelf that his theory 
will he warmly patronized by all the lovers 
of novelty , and friends of oppofttion, who 
are happily , at this period, fo numerous both 
in France and England \ and who are likely 
to receive an unbounded increafe. 

The author indeed, is well aware, that 
even in thefe luminous days, there are fill 
many who will be fo far from admitting 
the equality of brutes to men, that they will 
not even allow the equality of mankind to 
each other. Perhaps too, they will cn~ 



deavour to fupport their opinion from the 
authority of Ariflotle in his politics, where 
he endeavours to prove, that feme men are 
naturally born Jlaves, and others free ; and 
that the Jlavijh part of mankind ought to 
be governed by the independent , in the fame 
manner as the foul governs the body, that 
is y like a defpot or a tyrant. " For (fays 
he) thofe who are born with Jlrong bodily 
and weak mental powers, arc born to fcrve ; 
and on the contrary, whenever the mind 
predominates over the body, it confers na- 
tural freedom on its pojfcffhr" But this 
is a conclufion which will furely be ridi- 
culed by every genuine modern, as it wholly 
proceeds on a fuppoftion, that mind and 



body are two diftinR things, and that tht 
former is more excellent than the latter; 
though almtfl every one is now convinced, 
that foul and body are only nominally difiin- 
guijhed from each other, and are effentially 
the fame. 

In/kortj fuch is the prevalence of truth, 

and fuch the futility of rfriflotle, that his 

diflinilion between majler and fervant is 

continually lojing ground ; fo that all fubor- 
dination fcems to be dying away, and an 

approximation to equality taking place among 

the different orders of mankind. The truth 

cf this obfervation is particularly evident 

in female fervant s, whofe independent fpir it, 



which is miflaken hy fome for boldnefs and 

impudence, is become the fubjeft of general 

furprize; and who fo happily rival their 

mijirejfes in drefs, that excepting a little 

awkwardnefs in their carriage, and rough- 

nefs in their bands, occafoned by untwijling 

the wide-befpattering radii of the mop, and 

Jlrenuoufly grafping the fcrubbing-brufh, 

there is no difference between my lady and 

her houfe-maid. IVe may therefore rcafon- 

ally hope, that this amazing rage for liberty 

will continually increafe ; that mankind will 

Jhortly abolijh all government as an intolerable 

yoke ; and that they will as univerfally join 

in vindicating the rights of brutes, as in 

afferting the prerogatives of man. 





TI)Qt God has made all Things equal. 

xT appears at firft fight fomewhat lin- 
gular, that a moral truth of the higheft 
importance, and mod illuftrious evidence, 
fhould have been utterly unknown to 
the ancients, and not yet fully perceived, 
and univerfally acknowledged, even in 
fuch an enlightened age as the prefent. 

B The 

io The Rights of Brutes, 

The truth I allude to is, the equality of 
all things, with refpefl to their intrinfic and 
real dignity and worth. But indeed, a 
little confideration will foon enable us 
to account for the ignorance of mankind 
in this intereiting particular; and will 
teach us, that it folely arifes from thofe 
baneful habits of perverfe reafoning, 
which have from time to time immemorial 
taken root in the minds of men, and 
have at laft funk fo deep, as to render 
their final and general extirpation, an 
immenfely laborious, if not a ridiculous, 

I perceive however, with no fmali 
delight, that this fublime do&rine is 
daily gaining ground amongft the thinking 
part of mankind. Mr. Payne has already 


The Rights of Brutes. 1 1 

convinced thoufands of the equality of 
men to each other; and Mrs, Wool- 
floncraft has indifputably proved, that 
women are in every refpeft naturally equal 
to men, not only in mental abilities, 
but likewife in bodily ftrength, boldnefs, 
and the like. 

Bat all this, however, is only an ap- 
proximation to the great truth, which 
this Eflay is defigned to promulgate and 
prove, that there is no fuch thing in the 
univerfe, as fuperiority of nature (the 
firft caufe being excepted) ; and that any 
thing, when minutely and accurately ex- 
amined, however vile and contemptible it 
may falfely appear, will be found to be 
of ineftimable value, and intrinfically 

B 2 equal 

1 2 The Rights of Brutes. 

equal to a thing of the greateft magni- 
tude and worth. 

To be convinced of this, we need only 

confider, that the Deity, according to the 

common conceptions of all men, is a 

being of perfect equity and impartiality ; 

that his goodnefs is immenfe, and that he 

is no lefs powerful than good. Now in 

confequence of this, all his produ&ions 

muft be equally good and excellent ; fince 

otherwife he would be partial and unjuft. 

Should it be faid, that according to this 

do&rine the vileft natures muft be as fimi* 

lar to the Deity as the moft excellent, I 

reply, that this is only begging the quef- 

tion ; as we contend that the merit of all 

things, is in all things perfe&ly equal 

and the fame. 


The Rights of Brutes. tj 

But this will appear more evident, from 
the following induftion : — On comparing 
the nature of a lion with that of a man, 
we find that bodily ftrength is the apparent 
chara&eriftic of the one, and reafon of 
the other. I fay apparent ; for, as will 
fhortly be proved, brutes pofiefs reafon in 
common with men, though not in quite 
fo exquifite a degree ; and hence, the de- 
ficiency of reafon, combined with fupe- 
riority of ftrength, renders the lion an 
animal equally excellent with man ; in 
like manner, the fwiftnefs of a hare united 
with hare-like reafon, puts the hare upon 
an equality both with the lion and the 
man ; the advantages of flying in a bird, 
united with the reafon of a bird ; the fub- 
tilty of fpinning in a fpider, with fpider- 
like reafon ; and the microfcopic eye of a 

D 3 fly, 

H The Rights of Brutes. 

fly, with the reafon of a fly, will feverally 
be found to be equal to each other, and 
of equal dignity with the reafon and bodily 
advantages of man. 

This theory will perhaps appear to 
many too abflra£led and refined, and as 
having a tendency to deftroy thofe diftinc- 
tions of fociety, which feem to have been 
pointed out by nature herfelf, and to have 
commenced with the creation of the world. 
There appears indeed to be fome weight 
in the firft part of the obje&ion, with 
refpeft to the abftra&ednefs of this theory; 
for not long fince Mr. Payne, who may 
be confidered as the father of this fyftem, 
was fo loft in contemplation of its fub- 
limity, that he fuffered himfelf to be in- 
fulted in a company of two hundred per- 


Tbi Rights of Brutes. 15 

fons, without attempting to revenge the 
affront (the whole two hundred likewife 
experiencing the fame abftra&ed effe&s) ; 
Mrs. Woolftoncraft, who though a virgin, 
is the mother of this theory, often, as I 
am told, eats beef for mutton ; and I 
myfelf am frequently fo loft, as when 
reading the heft produ&ions of the mo- 
derns, to imagine they are nonfenfical, 
when at the fame time they are the pro*, 
geny of the moft confummate wifdom and 
wit. But confequences like thefe, which 
are in reality but trifling, ought not to be 
obje&ed to a fyftem, which is founded on 
truth, and intimately interwoven with the 
nature of things. And, as to its being 
urged, that fucb a fyftem tends to deftroy 
the neceflary diftin&ions of fociety, I 
anfwer, that it mud firft be proved that 

B 4 fuch 

16 The Rights of Brutes. 

fuch diftin&ions are neceflary and na- 
tural ; for there is great reafon to fufpeft, 
that they are, and always have been, no- 
thing more than tyrannical invafions of 
certain wicked and defigning men, who 
wifhed (and have unfortunately fucceeded 
in their wifli), to deftroy that equality, 
which the Author of the univerfe has be- 
nevolently inferted in all things. Thefe 
diftin&ions indeed are fo far from being 
natural, that the very words by which 
they are exprefTed, are evidently cor- 
ruptions of more common, and lefs arbi- 
trary appellations. Thus, for inftance, 
the Greek word for a king, /Jams:*, is 
doubtlefs a corruption of /J«wi A/*xof> a ba- 
ftlijk ; and the Englifli word nobility, is in 
like manner a corruption of the word 
mobility ; juft as praying, when it becomes 

focial 1 

The Rights of Brutes. 1 7 

focial, is beyond all controverfy a cor- 
ruption of braying ; as I doubt not will 
be readily acknowledged by the inge- 
nious and learned Mr, Wakefield. 


1 8 The Rights of Brutes. 


That Brutes pojfefs Reafon in common 
with Men. 

JlJ U T as our more immediate bufinefs at 
prefent is with brutes, and their rights, 
in order to accomplifh in a becoming 
manner this arduous inveftigation, I (hall 
prove, in the firft place, that they are ra- 
tional beings, as well as men ; and in the 
fecond place, I (hall enumerate fome out 
of the numberlefs advantages which would 
arife from endeavouring to underftand the 
language of brutes, and reftoring them to 
their natural equality with mankind. At 
the fame time, I would wifh the Reader 
to take notice, that whatever is here 


The Rights of Brutes. 19 

aflerted of brutes, 1$ no lcfs applicable to 
vegetables, and even minerals themfelves ; 
for it is an ancient opinion, that all things 
are endued with fenfe; and this doftrine 
is very acutely defended by Campanella, 
in his Treat ife De Senfu Rerum, et Magia, 
and is indeed the natural refult of that 
mod fublime and comprchenfive theory, 
which is the bafis of the prefent work. 
So that there is fome rcafon to hope, that 
this Eflay will foon be followed by trea- 
tifes on the rights of vegetables and mi- 
nerdlsy compofed by pcrfons of far greater 
abilities than I pofTefs ; that thus, the 
do&rine of perfect equality will become 
univerfal ; dominion of every kind be 
exiled from the face of the earth ; and that 
beautiful period be realized, which at 


20 The Rights of Brutes. 

prefent is believed to exift only in fable, 

" Man walk'd with bead joint tenant of the ihade." 

But in order to prove that brutes pofTefs 
reafon in common with men, I fhall pre- 
fent the Reader with the fubfeance of the 
Platonic philofopher Porphyry's argu- 
ments on this fubje£, which I have col- 
lected with great pains, from his Third 
Book, on Abftinence from Animal Food, 
as they appear to me to be admirably cal- 
culated for our prefent defign ; and are as 
follow : 

It is a true and Pythagoric opinion, that 
every foul participating fenfe and memory 
is rational, and is endued with fpeech as 


The Rights of Brutes. 2 1 

well internal as external, by means of 
which, animals apparently irrational con- 
fer with each other. But that the words 
they employ for this purpofe fhoukf not 
be diftinguifhed by us, is not to be won- 
dered at, if we confider, that the difcourfe 
of many Barbarians is unintelligible to us, 
and that they appear to make ufe of in- 
diftinft vociferation, rather than rational 
fpeech. Bcfides, if antiquity is to be 
believed, and the teftimony of thofe who 
exifted in our time, and that of our an- 
ceftors, there are fome who have affirmed 
thcmfelves capable of hearing and under- 
ftanding the fpeech of animals, as among 
the ancients, Melampus and Tirefias, 
but among the moderns, Apollonius Tya- 
neus, who is reported to have told his 
friends who were prefent at the occafion* 


22 The Rights of Brutes. 

that one fwallow informed other birds, 

that an afs had the misfortune to fall near 

the city, loaded with wheat, which was 

fcattered on the ground, through the in- 

curfions of a porter ; and one of our 

companions related to me, that he met 

with a boy, in capacity of a fervant, who 

underftood all the voices of birds, and 

affirmed, that they were diviners, and 

prognofticators of future events ; but at 

length, through his mother, who was 

fearful left he fhould be fent as a prefent 

to the emperor, and on this account 

poured urine in his ear when afleep, he 

was deprived of this wonderful fagacity. 

But that brutes are endued with reafon, 

may be argued from their fignifying to 

each other their peculiar concerns ; from 

their confulting for their own intereft 


The Rights of Brutes. 23 

with diligent fagacity ; from their pro- 
viding for futurity ; from their learning 
many things alternately of each other and 
of mankind, and from alternately inftru&- 
ing each other in things neceflary to their 
exiftence. To all which we may add, that 
Plato, Ariftotle, Empedocles, Democritus, 
and others, who have accurately invefli- 
gated the truth concerning animals, have 
found them to partake of reafon and 
difcourfe. But as Ariftotle obferves, there 
appears a diverfity in the participation 
only, and not in the eflence of reafon ; 
the difference confiding in more and lefs, 
which many think may be applied to the 
nature of gods and men, a diverfity be- 
tween thefe fubfifting according to a 
perfedt and imperfeft habit of reafon, and 
not according to a contrariety of eflence. 


24 The Rights of Brutes. 

So one and the fame xeafon is common to 
men and brutes, but is diftinguifhed by 
degrees of intenfion and remiffion. Arifto- 
tle further obferves, that thofe animals are 
mod prudent, that is, are mod crafty and 
fubtle, which excel in acutenefs of fen- 
fation ; but the difference of the corporeal 
organization renders animals eafily, or 
with difficulty, paflive to external objects, 
and is the occafion of their poireffing rea- 
fon in greater or lefs energy and vigour ; 
but this cannot caufe an eflential variation 
of foul, fince it neither compels the 
fenfes nor the pallions to depart from 
their proper nature. 

It muft be granted therefore, that the 
difference of reafon in thefe fubfifts ac- 
cording to more and lefs, nor muft we 


7 hi Rights of Brutes. 25 

deprive other animals of reafon entirely, 
becaufe we participate an higher degree of 
intelle&ion. As we do not deny that 
partridges can fly, becaufe hawks foar 
with greater rapidity ; for indeed it may 
be admitted, that the foul is fubjeft to 
paffion from its union with the body, and 
is aflfefted according to the good or bad 
temperament of its conftitution ; but that 
the nature of the foul is changed in confe- 
quence of this paflivity, muft by no means 
be allowed : but if it is paffive only from 
this union, and ufes the body as an in- 
ftrument, when this inftrument is differ- 
ently organized from ours, it performs 
many things which we are unable to 
effeft ; and indeed it is paflive from the 
particular conftitution of the body, but it 
does not on this account change its pecu- 

C liar 

26 The Rights of Brutes. 

liar nature. But thofe who affirm that 
brutes, in their rational operations, aflt 
from nature, do not fufficiently perceive 
that they are naturally endued with a ra- 
tional power, nor that the reafon we par- 
ticipate is the gift of nature, although its 
perfe&ion depends on an inareafe beyond 
what we derived from nature. Nor is it 
an argument againft the rationality of 
brutes, that their reafon is not derived 
from difcipline ; fince it is true in other 
animals as well as in men, that many 
things are taught them from nature, but 
that they acquire much information from 
after inftru&ion. Again, fome have en- 
deavoured, and I think not abfurdly, to 
Jhew, that many animals are more pru- 
dent than we are, from the places in 
which they refide ; for as the inhabitants 


The Rights of Brutes. 27 

of asther are more rational than mankind, 
this is likewife true, fay they, of the next 
to thefe, the inhabitants of air ; afterwards 
the refidents in water and in earth differ 
from each other in gradations of reafon. 
For if we meafure the dignity of divi- 
nities from the excellency of place, it is 
equally juft to apply the fame flandard to 
every kind of animal nature. Again, 
Socrates, and before him Rhadamanthus, 
ufed to fwear by animals ; but the Egyp- 
tians believed that certain animals were 
gods ; whether this was their real opinion, 
or whether they defignedly gave the coun- 
tenance of an ox and the face of birds to 
the forms of the gods, that they might 
induce men to abftain from animals, as 
much as from their own fpecies ; or whe- 
ther this proceeded from fome more fecret 

C 2 caufe 

28 The Rights of Brutes. 

caufe of which we are ignorant. Thus 
loo the Greeks placed the horns of a ram 
on the ftatue of Jupiter ; but the horns of 
a bull on that of Bacchus, and compofed 
the ftatue of Pan from the jun&ion of a 
goat and a man. To the Mufes and 
Sirens, Love and Mercury, they gave 
wings ; and they relate, that Jupiter af- 
fumed, at different times, the form of a 
bull, of an eagle, and of a fwan. By all 
which the ancients teftified the honours 
they beflowed on animals, and this in a 
ftill greater degree, when they affirm that 
a goat was the nurfe of Jupiter. 

But Fables indicate that brute animals 
accord with mankind in the nature of 
foul, when they affirm that through the 
indignation of the gods, human fouls pafs 


The Rights of Brute r. 29 

into the bodies of brutes ; and that, when 
thus transmigrated, they excite the pity 
of the divinities ; fignifying by fuch nar- 
rations, that all animals are endued with 
reafon, which, though imperfeft in moft 
of the brutal kind, is not entirely want- 
ing in any. 

Hence it is unjuft to deftroy animals, 
fince they are not entirely alienated from 
our nature, but participate of reafon in 
common with mankind, thoiJgh in an 
inferior degree. But we, indulging in 
wantonnefs and cruelty, deftroy many of 
them in theatrical fports, and in the bar- 
barous exercife of the chafe, by which 
means the brutal energies of our nature 
grow ftrong, and favage defires encreafe. 
On the contrary, the Pythagoreans exer- 

C 3 eifed 

30 The Rights of Brutes. 

cifed gentlenefs and clemency towards 
brutes as a fpecimen of humanity and 
pity. Again, that brutes participate of 
reafon may be argued as follows : Every 
thing which is perfectly inanimate, fince 
it is deftitute of reafon and intellect, is 
oppofed to that, which together with foul 
participates of reafon and a certain intel- 
ligence. For every animated fenfitive 
being poffefles alfo a phantafy, as a kind 
of reafon ; and Nature, which forms 
every thing for the fake of fome purpofe, 
and with reference to fome end, formed 
alfo an animal, fenfitive ; not that it 
might fimply perceive and fuffer, but 
that it might diftinguifh what is con- 
venient to its nature from what is incon- 
venient, and purfue the one and avoid 
the other. Senfe therefore procures to 


The Rights of Brutes. 3 1 

every animal the knowledge of what is 
noxious or beneficial ; but that conduft, 
which is the refult of fenfation, I mean 
the profecution of things ufeful, and the 
avoiding fuch as are definitive, can only 
be prefent with beings endued with a cer- 
tain ratiocination, judgment and me- 
mory. Indeed Strato, the phyfiologift, 
juftly obferves, that fenfe cannot at all 
operate without intelligence, fince we 
often run over writings with our eyes, 
and expofe our ears to difcourfe, without 
any attendant confeioufnefs, the foul be- 
ing intent on fomc other concern ; and 
afterwards confider and purfue the mean- 
ing they contain, by recolle&ing what 
was before unnoticed. From whence it 
is well faid by the poet, 

" 'Tis mind alone that fees and hears, 
■« And all befides is rf*af and blind/* 

C4 For 

32 The Rights of Brutes. 

For indeed, though our eyes and ears 
become paflive to external obje&s, yet 
perception cannot take place unlefs intel- 
lect is prefent. On which account King 
Cleomenes, when a certain difcourfe was 
praifed at a banquet at which he was 
prefent, being afked whether it did not 
appear to him excellent — that muft be 
determined by you, fays he, for my foul 
was at the time in Peloponefus. But 
although we fhould admit that fenfe does 
not require intellect in the profecution 
of its energies, yet when it places a dif- 
ference between two obje&s purfuing the 
one and avoiding the other, and fagaci- 
oufly invents the middle term of purfuit 
and declination, we may juftly attribute 
fuch inventions to the operations of 


The Rights of Brutes* 33 

reafon, and conclude, that thcfe powers 
are peculiar to a rational nature, and are 
prefent in different degrees to all animals 
pofTe fling a progreflive motion. 


34 Tht Rights of Brutes. 


That in confequence of Brutes ptffejpng 
Reafon, we ought to abjlain from Animal 
Fosd ; — and that this was the P raft ice 
of the moji ancient Greeks. 

X HUS far Porphyry, from whofe per- 
fectly convincing arguments it evidently 
follows, that it is equally as unjuft and 
tyrannical to deftroy and eat brutes, as 
they are erroneoufly called, as it would 
be to facrifice our own fpecies for the 
fame impious and intemperate purpofes ; 
fince in either cafe, we injure our kindred 
and allies. Befidcs, as he well obferves 
in another place, he who loves all animals 
in general, will have no particular hatred 


Th$ Rights of Brutes. 35 

for any individual ; but by how much the 
more he cultivates juftice, towards the 
whole animal kind, by fo much the more 
wiir his equity be extended towards that 
part of the fpecics, which is more nearly 
allied to his own. Hence he who ufes 
all animals with kindnefs and familiarity, 
will not injure this or that in particular: 
but he who eircumfcribes juftice, within 
the narrow limits of the human race, is 
ever ready, like one placed in a difficult 
fituation, to relax the reins of injuftice, 
and haften into the dangerous paths of 
iniquity. On which account the banquet 
of Pythagoras, is much more p leafant 
and defirable, than that of Socrates : for 
the latter of thefe affirmed, that hunger 
was the fauce of food ; but Pythagoras 
aflerted, that to injure no one, and to a& 
juftly, was the fweeteft of all banquets. 

36 The Rights of Brutes. 

But that this abftinence from animal 
food, which is here fo warmly recom- 
mended, was a&ually adopted by the 
mod ancient nations, is evident in the 
firfl place from the condu6t of the pri- 
mitive Greeks, as related by Porphyry, 
in th« Fourth Book of his above-mentioned 
Treatife, and which was as follows : 

4t Dicaearchus the Peripatetic (fays he) 
in his Hiftory of the ancient Manner of 
Living among the Greeks, relates, that 
the ancients immediately originating from 
the gods, were endued with the mod ex- 
cellent natures, and led the moft exalted 
lives ; fo that compared with us, who 
fpring from an adulterated and bafe mat- 
ter, they are denominated the golden age; 
and thefe men (fays he) deftroyed no ani- 

The Rights of Brutes. 37 

mal nature. But the truth of this is 
evinced by the poets, who call this firfl 
age of mankind golden, and relate that 
every good was prefent to the inhabitants 
of this happy period. For according to 
Hefiod : 

f • Then earth fpontineous on her bofom bore, 
Of various herbs and fruits, a plenteous (lore ; 
In peaceful works, then men remote from flrife, 
And blert with virtuous friend/hip pafs'd thro' life.'* 

Which verfes Dicsearchus explaining, 
affirms that a life of this kind was under 
the government of Saturn ; fince it is 
proper to believe that tins period was in 
reality fuch, and was not alone celebrated 
in empty fables, but fubiifted agreeable to 
the defcription of the poet, and ought 
therefore to be referred to forne caufe con- 
fonant toreafon, and the nature of things. 


3? TJ?e Rights of Brutes. 

Every thing was indeed fpontaneoufly 
produced, for mankind as yet ignorant of 
agriculture, and of every other art, pre- 
pared none of the neceflaries of life. This 
too was the reafon why they enjoyed the 
greateft repofe, and parted through life 
free from labour and care ; and if we may 
acquiefce in the reafon ings of the moft 
knowing and moft elegant of phyficians, 
they were not infefted with any difeafc. 
For they found that nothing was more 
conducive to the prefcrvation of health 
than refraining from a ufelefs abundance 
of nutriment, from which they always 
preferved their bodies perfe&ly pure. 
Hence they did not make ufe of food 
exceeding the ftrength, but fuch as was 
cafily fubjed to the dominion of their 
nature ; and never affumed nutriment be- 

The Rights of Brutes* 39 

yond mediocrity through the abundance 
of provifions, but frequently lefs than 
what was fufficient through the fcarcity of 
fupply. They were perfeft ftrangers to 
wars and feditions, fince no reward wor- 
thy of contefl was ever propofed to them, 
for the fake of which they wifhed to com- 
mit themfelves to fuch great and danger- 
€H)5 diflenfions. So that repofe and quiet 
from the moleitations produced by the 
preparation of neceflaries, together with. 
health, peace, and friendfhip, were the 
principal refults of fuch a life. But af- 
terwards the offspring of this happy pe- 
riod, from indulging in the defire of abun- 
dance, and from extending their poflef- 
fions, which produced a multiplicity of 
evils, rendered the former mode of exift- 
ence truly defirable to fucceeding gene- 

40 The Rights of Brutes. 

rations. But the (lender and fpontaneous 
nutriment of this primitive age is fuffi- 
ciently indicated by the adage which was 
afterwards in ufe, ak^ ffw 9 enough of 
the oak ; a proverb moft probably ufurped 
by thofe who changed the former mode of 
fubfiftence. After this, a pafloral life 
fucceeded, in which mankind extended 
their poflellions, and fubje£led animals to 
their dominion. But perceiving that fome 
of thefe were innoxious, and others ma- 
levolent and deflruftive, they tamed fome, 
and contended with others. For war 
arofc together with this altered inftitution 
of life, which we do oot affirm upon cur 
own authority, but from the teftimony of 
thofe who have compiled a variety of 
authentic particulars from hiftorical tra- 


The Rights of Brutes. 41 

And now in this fubordinate age, fuch 
things as were in any eftimation became 
the riches of mankind, which fome ambi- 
tioufly endeavoured to feize, provoking 
one another for this porpofe ; while others 
endeavoured to defend them with equal 
zeal and oppofition. So that by gradual 
advances, mankind always regarding what 
appeared ufeful, pafled into the third kind 
of life, in which the bufinefs of agri- 
culture became the principal objeft of 
general attention. And thus far Dicaj- 
archus proceeds in relating the - ancient 
manners of the Greeks, and the blefled 
life enjoyed by the moft remote anti- 
quity, to the poHeffion of which abftinence 
from animals afforded no fmall contribu- 
tion. Hence no wars nor tumults flourifti- 
ed at this time, becaufe all injuflice was 

D exiled 

42 The Rights of Brutes. 

exiled. But afterwards, together with 
the perpetration of injuries towards ani- 
mals, war and fraudulent conduft mutu- 
ally arofe. So that the audacity of thofe 
men is wonderful, who are not afhamed 
to call abftinence from animals the mo- 
ther of injuftice, fincc it appears from 
the credit which is due to hiftory and ex- 
perience, that war, luxury and injuftice, 
invaded the earth together with animal 


The Rights of Brutes. 43 


That this was Vthewife the Praftice of the 
Egyptian Priejts* 

¥ ORPHYRY then proceeds to fhew 
from the writings of Chxremon the ftoic, 
that abftinence from animal food, formed 
one part of that mode of living, which 
was adopted by the Egyptain priefts; 
whofe relation epitomized is as follows : 

u Thefe priefls, who are confidered as 
philofophers by the Egyptians, choofe a 
place for their refidcncc, which is belt 
adapted to the ftudy and cxercife of facred 
fites ; fo that a defire of contemplation is 
excited by only frequenting thofe recedes, 
D 2 which 

44 2T&' Rights of Brutes. 

which are dedicated to their ufe. But 
they live entirely folitary, except at par- 
ticular times when they mix with others, 
in certain public aflemblies and feafls ; 
but on all other occafions, they are 
fcarcely to be approached. He adds, that 
thefe men, renouncing every other occu- 
pation, and all human affairs, give them- 
felves entirely, through the whole of life, 
to the contemplation of divine concerns, 
and to enquiring into the divine will : by 
the latter of thefe employments, procur- 
ing to themfelves honour, fecurity,and the 
eflimation of pity ; and by contemplation 
tracing out the latent paths of wifdom and 
fcience. Indeed a folitary life rendered 
them perfe&ly venerable. For during 
that period, which they call the time of 
purification, they fcarcely mixed with 


The Rights of Brutes. 4.5 

the aflbciates of their own order; and 
even refrained from the fight of any one 
of them, but hkn whofe prefence was 
neceflary, on account of certain menial 
employments which the exercife of purity 

He adds, they are always feen cm- 
ployed, among the refemblances of the 
gods ; either carrying their images, or 
preceding them in their accuftomed pro- 
ceflions, or difpofing them with gravity 
of deportment, and in a graceful order. 
But their gravity was fo extreme, that 
when they walked, their pace was per- 
fectly equable, and their eyes fo fteady, 
that they frequently even refrained from 
winking ; and their rifibility extended no 
farther than to a fmile. Their hands too 
D 3 were 

4.6 The Rights of Brutes. 

were always contained "within their gar- 
ments ; and as there were many orders of 
priefts, each carried about him fome re- 
markable fymbol of that order which he 
was allotted in facred concerns. Their 
fuftenance was (lender and fimple ; and 
with refpeft to wine, fome of them en- 
tirely refrained from it ; and others drank 
it very fparingly, becaufe they affirmed 
that it hurt the nerves, was an impedi- 
ment to the invention of things, and an 
incentive to venereal defires. They alfo 
abftained from bread in exercifes of pu- 
rity ; and if they eat it at other times, it 
was firft cut in pieces, and mingled with 
hyflbp. For the mod part too, they re- 
frained from oil ; and when they ufed it 
mixed with olives, it was only in fmall 
quantities ; and juft as much as was 


The Rights of Brutes. 47 

fufficient to mitigate the tafte of the 

In the mean time, u was not lawful 
for any one to tafte of the aliment, whe- 
ther folid or fluid, which was brought to 
Egypt from foreign parts. They like- 
wife abftained from the fiih which Egypt 
produced, and from all quadrupeds having 
folid, or many fi flu red hoofs ; from fuch 
as were without horns ; and from all car- 
niverdus birds ; but many of them ab- 
ftained entirely from animal food. At 
thofe times too, when they all rendered 
themfelves pure, they did not even eat an 
egg. But when the period drew near, in 
which they were to celebrate fome facred 
rites, or fcfiivnl, they employed many 
days in previous preparation ; fome of 

D 4 them 

48 The Rights of Brutes. 

them fetting apart forty-two days, others 
a greater length of time than this, and 
others again a fliorter, but never lefs than 
feven days ; abftaining during this period 
from all animals, and from all leguminous 
and oily nutriment, but efpecially from 
venereal congrefs. They wafhed them* 
felves thrice every day in cold water ; viz. 
after rifing from bed, before dinner, and 
when they betook them felves to reft ; and 
if they happened to be polluted in their 
fleep, they immediately purified their bo- 
dies in a bath. 

Their beds likewife were compofed of 
the branches of a palm, which they called 
Cats, bats. A piece of wood of a femi- 
circular form, and well plained, ferved 
them for a pillow. But through the 


The Rights of Brutes. 49 

whole of life, they were exercifed in the 
endurance of hunger and third, and were 
accuftomed to a paucity and fimplicity of 

But as a teftimony of their temperance, 
though they neither ufed the exercife of 
walking, or riding, yet they lived free 
from difeafe, and were moderately ftrong. 
For indeed they endured great labour in 
their facred ceremonies, and performed 
many fervices, exceeding the common 
ftrength of men. They divided the night 
between obfervations of the celeftial bo- 
dies, and offices of purity ; but the day 
was deftined to the cultivation of the divi- 
nities, whom they worfhipped with hymns 
each day, three or four times ; viz. in 
the morning and evening, when the fun 


50 The Rights of Brutes. 

is at his meridian, and when he is fetting; 
the reft of their time they were occupied 
in arithmetical and geometrical fpecula- 
tions, always laborious and inventing, 
and continually employed in the invefti- 
gation of things. In winter nights alfo 
they were diligent in the fame employ- 
ment, and were ever vigilant to literary 
ftudies, fince they were not folicitous 
about external concerns, and were freed 
from the bafe dominion of intemperate 
defires. Their unwearied and afliduous 
labour therefore, argues their great pa- 
tience; and their continence is fufficiently 
indicated by their privation of defire. 
Beiides, it was efteemed very impious to 
fail from Egypt, as they were very careful 
in abftaining from the manners and luxu- 
ries of foreign nations ; Co that to leave 


The Rights of Brutes. 51 

Egypt was alone lawful to thofe who were 
compelled to it by date necedities. But 
they difcourfed much concerning a re- 
tention of their native manners ; and if 
any pried was judged to have tranfgrefled 
the laws in the lead particulars, he was 
expelled the college. Befides, the true 
method of philofophifing was preferved in 
commentaries and diaries by the prophets, 
and miniders of facred concerns ; the re- 
maining multitude of priefts, padophori, 
(or priefts of Ifis and Ofiris) governors of 
temples, and fervants of the gods, ftudied 
purity, but not fo cxa&Iy, nor with fuch 
great continence, as thofe we have men- 
tioned. And thus much is related of 
the Egyptians, by a man who is equally 
a lover of truth, and of accurate diligence, 
and who is deeply (killed in the ftoic 
philofophy. But 

52 The Rights of Brutes. 

But the Egyptian priefts having pro- 
ceeded thus far in the ftudy of purity, and 
conciliating divinity to their nature, were 
of opinion, that not only men may be- 
come divine, and that foul is participated 
by man on this terreftrial globe, but that 
it paffes at different periods into the bo- 
dies of all animals. Hence, in framing 
the refemblances of the gods, they made 
life of every animal form ; and fometimes 
they united for this purpofe the bodies of 
men and beafts, and again of men and 
birds. For it was cuftomary with them 
to reprefent fome particular god in a 
human form from the extremities to the 
neck, but with the face of a bird, or a 
lion, or of fome other animal: and again 
they fafhioned another divinity with a 
human head, having the other parts com- 


Thi Rights of Brutes. 53 

pofed from different animals ; applying 
the fuperior parts of fome animals, and 
the inferior parts of others in this con- 
junction. By all which they (hewed, ac- 
cording to the fentiments of the divinities, 
that men and beads poflcfs fomething in 
common, and do not without the con- 
currence of the divine will, from a favage 
ftate become tame, and receive their edu- 
cation together with mankind. Hence a 
lion is venerated by them as a god ; and a 
certain part of Egypt, called Nomos, is 
furnamed Leontopolis, or the city of Lion- 
worfhippers ; another part, Bujiris, or 
Ox-worfhippers : and again, another, 
Lycopolis, or Wolf-worfhippers. For 
they venerated the divine power which 
is exalted above all things, under the 
fimilitude of that fpecies of animals which 


54 The Rights of Brutes. 

the province they inhabited produced: 
and on this account they dedicated par- 
ticular animals to particular gods. Among 
the elements they paid a particular ve- 
neration to fire and water, as they are 
the principal caufes of our prefervation ; 
and this they exhibited in their temples ; 
and even at the prefent time, when the 
fan&uary of Serapis is opened, the rites 
are celebrated with fire and water. For 
the minifter who fings the facred hymns, 
both pours out water by drops, and ex- 
hibits fire when ftanding in the place ap- 
pointed for fuch purpofes, he invokes the 
divinity in the native language of the 
Egyptians. Since therefore they venerate 
tliefe elements they particularly wcrfhip, 
whatever poflefTes mod of thefe, as parti- 
cipating largely of holy natures. But 


The Rights of Brutes. 55 

after this they worfhipped all animals; 
and in the village Anubh paid divine 
honours to man ; for they facrificed to 
him, in honour of his nature upon 
altars. And prepared for themfelves (In 
a fhort time after the religious ceremo- 
nies) fuch food as was accommodated to 
his nature as man. From which conduft 
we conclude, that other animals are to be 
abftained from as well as mankind.— 
Again, from their moft excellent wifdom, 
and from their intimate acquaintance with 
divine concerns, they learned what ani- 
mals are friendly to men and dear to the 
gods. Thus they affirm that a hawk is 
acceptable to the fun, becaufe its nature 
is entirely compofed from blood and 
fpirit : befides, it feels companion for 
man and bewails his death, lightly cafting 


56 The Rights of Brutes. 

earth upon his eyes, in which they be- 
lieved the folar light refided. 

They have likewife discovered that a 
hawk lives many years, and that when 
dead, it is endued with a divining power ; 
and being freed from its corporeal bonds 
pofTefles great wifdom, and is very know- 
ing in future events : that it alfo gives 
perfe&ion to images and moves temples. 
The rude uninformed vulgar, ignorant of 
divine concerns, doubtlefs abhors the 
K&v§dL<>Q< or beetle ; but the Egyptians 
worfliip it as a living image of the fun. 
For every beetle is of the male kind, but 
drops its offspring in the mud, which it 
fafhions into a fpherical fhape ; and moves 
round it in a retrograde courfe, like the 
fun in the heavens. And in this manner 


The Rights of Brutes. 57 

it remains expe&ing the conclufion of 
twenty-eight days, that is, a lunar period. 
After the fame manner, the ram, the 
crocodile, the vulture, the ibis, and uni- 
verfally all animals, were the fubje&s of 
their philosophical difquifitions. So that 
in confequencc of their wifdom, and great 
knowledge of divine concerns, they at 
length came to animal worfliip. But the 
unlettered man is perfe&ly ignorant by 
what means they preferved themfelves 
from being carried away by vulgar folly ; 
how they deferted the paths of ignorance 
frequented by the multitude ; and ad- 
mitted as a part of their worfliip things 
of no general eftimation. 

But this confideration, no lefs than the 
preceding obfervations, ftrengthened their 

E belief 

58 The Rights of Brutes. 

belief in the propriety of animal worfhip : 
I mean their difcovering» that the fouls 
of all animals when freed from body are 
endued with reafon ; are prasfcient of fu- 
ture events ; poflefs a prophetic power, and 
are capable of all the various operations 
of man, when diverted of his corporeal 
bonds. Hence they juftly reverenced all 
animals, and as much as poflible abftained 
from ufing them in food. But as the 
Egyptians worfhipping the gods through 
the medium of animals, requires much 
inveftigation, and far more than the limits 
of this work will admit, what has been 
already revealed concerning their myfteries 
muft fufiice our prefent defign." 


The Rights of Brutes. 59 


The fame Ahflinence exemplified in the Hif- 
tory of the Perftans and Indians. 

u jt\GAIN, fays Porphyry, among 
the Perfians, thofc who are wife in divine 
concerns and priefts of divinity, are called 
Magi. For fuch is the fignification of 
the word according to the Perfian diale&. 
But fo auguft and venerable is this clafs 
of men among the Perfians, that Darius, 
the fon of Hyftafpis, ordered this, among 
other things, to be inferibed on his tomb, 
that he was the matter of magic. Thefe 
Magi, according to Eubulus, who com- 
pofed the Hiftory of Mithras, in many 
books, are divided into three kinds ; the 
E 2 firft 

60 The Rights of Brutes. 

firft and mod learned of which fe&s, 
neither eat nor deftroy animals, but adhere 
to the ancient abftinence from animal 
food. But the Magi of the fecond order, 
deftroy animals indeed, but not fuch a-> 
are tame. Nor do thofe of the third 
order equally feed on all kinds* The firft 
and greateft dogma of all thefe tribes is., 
the do&rine of the metempfychofis of 
Mithras ; infinuating the agreement of 
our nature with that of other animals, 
by calling themfelves by their names. 
Thus they denominate the male Millies, 
who participate of their orgies or facred 
rites, lions, but the female lionefles, and 
the fervants of the priefts, ravens. And 
the fame cuftom obtains in prefcrving the 
remembrance of their fathers, for they 
denominate thefe hawks and eagles, but 


The Rights of Brutes. 6t 

he who is initiated in thofe rites, of which 
a lion is the fymbol, is inverted with all 
the various kinds of animal forms. This 
cuftom Pallas, in the books which he 
compofed concerning Mithras, accounts 
for, by faying, that common people 
thought it refpe&ed the circle of the 
zodiac, but that the true and accurate 
opinion is, that they infinuated by this 
cuftom, the tranfmigration of human 
fouls into all the different orders of bo- 
dies. He adds, the Romans call fome 
men by the names of boars, goats, and 
black-birds, and denominate in a fimilar 
manner, the gods, the artificers of thefe. 
Thus they call Diana, lupa, or a fhe- 
wolf, but to the fun, they give the ap- 
pellations of a bull, a lion, a dragon, 
and a hawk ; and to Hecate, the names 

E 3 of 

62 The Rights of Brutes. 

of a horfe, a bull, a lionefs and a dog* 
But the Greek name of Proferpine, <ps?ep*7*» 
according to many theologies, is derived 
from (ptfCuv THyZAilv, or nourifhing 
wood-pigeons. For this bird is facred to 
Hecate. Hence a wood-pigeon is dedicated 
to the goddefs Maia by her priefts ; and 
Maia is the fame with Proferpine, be- 
caufe fhe is both a mother and a nurfe. 
For the terreftrial goddefs and Ceres are 
one and the fame, to whom they confe- 
crate a cock : and hence, thofe who are 
initiated in the myfleries of this goddefs, 
abftain from domeftic birds. For it is 
ordered in the Elufinian rites, that the 
initiated refrain from cooped-up birds, 
from fifh, beans, and pomegranates ; for 
they reckon it equally as defiling, to 
touch the trunk of this fruit-tree as a dead 


"The Rights of Brutes. 63 

body. But he who knows the nature of 
appearances, knows likewife, why it is 
requifite to abftain from all birds ; efpe- 
cially for him who haftens to be freed 
from terreftrial concerns, and to dwell 
with the celeftial gods. But improbity, as 
we have often obferved, is powerful in 
defending itfelf, and efpecially when it 
addrefTes the ignorant. Hence it is, that 
they who keep the middle rank among 
the bafe part of mankind, efteem this 
exhortation from animal food, as vain 
and empty, and fimilar as it is faid, to 
the trifling of an old woman's difcourfe ; 
while others, who are fomething farther 
advanced in improbity, are not only pre- 
pared to rail bitterly at thofe who recom- 
mend and excite mankind to fuch an ab- 
(lemious life, but alfo to calumniate fuch 
E 4 a condu&, 

64. The Rights of Brutes. 

a condu£t, as impofture and arrogant pre- 
fumption. However, men of this kind 
will fuffer the juft punifliment of their 
crimes both from gods and men ; and 
prior to this, will fufficiently punifh 
themfelves by fuch material affe£tions. 

But we fhall now proceed to another 
inftance of a foreign nation, highly cele- 
brated, juft and religious in divine con- 
cerns, which abftained from animal food : 
and this is the republic of the Indians. 

This republic then, fays Porphyry, 
is diftributed into many parts ; one of 
which comprehends that kind of theolo- 
gifts, denominated by the Greeks, gym- 
nofophifls. But of thefe there are two 
feds, one called Bramins, the ether Sa- 


The Rights of Brutes. 65 

maneans. The family of the Bramins 
fucceed as regularly in the profeffion 
of this divine wifdom, as to the office 
of the priefthood. But the Sauianeans 
are chofen for this inftitution ; and 
their number fupplied from among thofe 
who defire to apply themfclves to theo- 
logy. The inftitutes of thefe men are as 
follows, according to the writings of 
Bardefanes, the Babylonian, who lived in 
the times of our fathers, and in India be- 
came acquainted with the aflbciates of 
Damadamis, who were fent to Caefar. 
All the Bramins, fays he, originate from 
the fame flock, as they all defcend from 
the fame father and mother. But the Sa- 
maneans are not of the fame kind, but as 
we have already obferved, are colleded 
from everv tribe of Indians. A Bramin 


66 The Rights of Brutes. 

is fubjeft to no command, and is free 
from the exa£tion of tribute. But among 
thefe philosophers, fome inhabit moun- 
tains, while others refide on the banks of 
the river Ganges : and they fubfilt on 
mountainous autumnal fruits, and on 
certain herbs, formed into a concretion 
with milk. Thofe who dwell near the 
Ganges, live on the fruits which are pro- 
duced in great abundance about that river; 
but the earth bears almoft continually re- 
cent fruit, and befides this, much rice, 
fpontaneoufly produced, which they ufe 
when there is any deficiency of fruit ; and 
they efteem it extremely impure and im. 
pious, to fubfift on any other kind of nu- 
triment, or even to touch animal food. 
This opinion fubfifts among thofe who 
worfhip divinity, and exercife piety. 


The Rights of Brutes. 6j 

Hence they devote the day, and the 
greateft part of the night, to the facred 
employment of finging hymns, and pray- 
ing to the gods, each of them pofieffing a 
fmall cottage, as much as poflible buried 
in the depths of folitude; for the Bramins 
cannot endure to dwell together, nor to 
fpeak much ; but whenever this congrefs 
and difcourfe with each other happens, 
returning afterwards to their accuftomed 
retirement, they entirely refrain for many 
days together from all difcourfe ; they 
likewife often faft ; but the Samaneans, 
as we have obferved, are chofen from 
other tribes ; and when any perfon defires 
to be enrolled in that order, he goes to the 
matter of the city, and immediately ab- 
dicates the city or ftreet in which he re- 
fided, and rclinquifhcs whatever wealth 


68 The Rights of Brutes. 

and abundance he poflefles. In the next 
place, purifying his body from all defile- 
ments, and being inverted with a robe, 
he departs to the Samaneans, never after- 
wards returning to bis wife or children, 
(if he happens to be conne&ed with either 
of thefe) nor concerning himfelf about 
them, nor confidering them as any longer 
pertaining to him ; but the King takes 
care of the children, and procures them 
necefTary inftru£tion ; and the fupport of 
his wife devolves on her relations. Their 
manner of living too is as follows : they 
dwell without the city, exercifing them- 
felves throughout the day in difcourfes 
concerning the Deity ; and they are fur- 
nifhed with groves and temples, raifed by- 
royal bounty, in which there are domeftic 
flewards paid by the King, for the pur- 


The Rights of Brutes. 69 

pofe of fupplying thofe with food who 
aflemble in thefe places ; but the appa- 
ratus of their nutriment confifts of rice, 
bread, apples, and olives. When they 
enter into their houfes, on the ringing 
of a fmall bell, thofe who are not of their 
fe£l depart, and the Samaneans begin to 
pray : afterwards, a fignal being again 
given by the bell, they diftribute to every 
one a difli or pan, (for two are not per- 
mitted to eat out of the fame veflel) and 
feed them from rice. If any one dcfires 
variety of food, he has fome pot-herbs 
added, or fome autumnal fruits ; but as 
foon as the wants of nature are fupplied, 
they depart without delay to the fame 
divine exercifes. They all live without 
wives, and without poflefllng any external 
abundance ; and other Indians regard this 


70 The Rights of Brutes. 

k&, and that of the Bramins, with fuch 
high veneration, that the King himfelf 
vifits them, and begs that they will pray 
to and fupplicate the gods, (when enemies 
aflault the kingdom) or give him fuch 
counfel as the fituation of his affairs re- 

Thefe philofophers are fo affedted to- 
wards death, that they bear with reluc- 
tance the whole of the prefent life, as a 
certain necefiary fervice of nature ; and 
haflen with the greateft eagernefs to a 
liberation of their fouls from the bondage 
of body. Hence, when they perceive 
their corporeal part in a flourifhing con- 
dition, and are free from the incurfions 
of evil, they often fpontaneoufly depart 
from the prefent life; and though they 


The Rights of Brutes. 71 

previoufly declare their intention to others, 
yet no one prevents them in its execution; 
but the Gymnofophifts pronounce all thofe 
who are dead happy, and deliver certain 
inftru&ions to the familiars of the de- 
ceafed. So that the vulgar as well as thefe 
philofophers, from their mode of edu- 
cation, are firmly perfuaded that fouls 
converfe with each other after death* 
But the friends of the deceafed, after the 
charge given by the Gymnofophifts, com- 
mit the body to fire, that the foul may be 
feparated with the greatcft poflible purity 
from its connexion with the body, and 
conclude the fervice by finging a hymn. 
For indeed thefe men commit their deareft 
friends to the embraces of death with far 
greater cheerfulnefs, than others endure 
the departure of their fellow-citizens to 


72 The Rights of Brutes. 

fome diftant country. At the fame time 
they lament their own fituation, as yet 
abiding in mortality ; and proclaim the 
happinefs of the deceafed, who have 
now obtained an immortal condition of 

Thus far the excellent Porphyry, from 
all which it evidently follows, that abfti- 
nence from animal nutriment, which is 
the natural confequence of our fublime 
theory, is by no means a novelty, but 
may be juftified by the pra£lice of the 
wifeft and bcfl of men, in the earliefl 
periods of time. But it may perhaps be 
objected, that according to my fyftem, 
vegetables likewife ought not to be de- 
ftroycd, and eaten, on account of their 
perfcd equality with the nature of brutes 


The Rights $f Brutes. 73 

and men. To this I anfwer, that the 
life of a plant is in itfelf fo inconfidcrable, 
(though this deficiency is amply recoxn- 
penfed by the beautiful organization of 
its corporeal frame) that it cannot be fbp- 
pofed to fuffer any pain in its decerption ; 
and confequently is not in reality injured, 
by being made fubfervient to the nourifli- 
xnent of man and beaft. Indeed it is 
much to be wifhed, that we could abftarn 
from a vegetable aliment, without any 
inconvenience to our compofition ; and 
that, like Homer's deities, we were fu- 
periour to the want of meat and drink, 
that we might become truly immortal : 
or that we could procure for our nature, 
what is celebreted in fables, a remedy 
againft hunger and thirll ; and that (lop- 
ping the flowing condition of our body, 

F which, 

74 The Rights of Brutes. 

which, like an ever-running ftream, is 
continually rolling into the dark fea of 
matter, as into the abyfs of non-entity, 
we could immediately be prefent with the 
beft and mod exalted natures, and rife to 
that condition of being, in which he, 
who is conjoined by an ineffable union 
with the deity, is himfelf a god. But 
this indeed, is one of Porphyry's ex- 
tacies, who being a Platonift, was of 
courfe fubjeft to uncommon flights. 


The Rights of Brutes. 75 

chap. vr. 

On the Importance of underjlanding tie 
Language of Brutes , and rejloring them 
to their natural equality with mankind. 


*UT it is now time to confider the 
importance of learning the language of 
brutes ; for it is already evident from 
Porphyry, that they have a language of 
their own, and that it may be underftood 
by mankind. In order therefore to ac- 
complifh this defign in the mod perfect 
manner, I fhall produce a variety of 
curious hiftories of brutal fagacity, from 
the writings of Plutarch ; and (hew how 
mankind may be benefitted by aflbciating 
with brutes, as on a level with them- 
felves. F 2 And 

76 The Rights of Brutes. 

And that I may firft of all pleafe the 
ladies, I (hall begin with the elephant, a 
beaft by nature very amorous ; and from 
his prodigious fize, very well calculated 
to become the darling of our modern vir- 
gins, who having wifely laid afide the 
foolifh veils of antiquity, and haveaflum* 
ed greater boldnefs, are feldom inti- 
midated at any thing uncommonly large. 
Plutarch then, in that treatife of his, in 
which he contrafts the fagacity of land 
animals, with that of the aquatic fpecies, 
obferves, concerning the amours of 
brutes, that fome are furious and mad ; 
but that others obferve a kind of human 
decency, united with a very courtly kind 
of converfation. 



The Rights of Brutes. jj 

u Such (fays he) was the amour of 
the elephant at Alexandria, that rivalled 
Ariftophanes the grammarian. For they 
were both in love with a virgin that fold 
garlands: nor was the elephant's court- 
ship lefs confpicuous than the gramma* 
rian's. For as he pafled through the fruit- 
market, he always bought her apples, and 
flayed with her for fome time : and be- 
fides this, thrufting his probofcis within 
her waiftcoat, as a fubftitute for a hand, 
took great delight in gently feeling her 

From this inftance, it may be fairly 
concluded, that if elephants were to afTo- 
ciate with ladies in common (each at the 
fame time underftanding the other's lan- 
guage) great and unexampled gallantries 

F 3 would 

78 The Rights of Brutes. 

would take place on each fide, and a 
mixt kind of fpecies would be produced, 
in which the enchanting elegance of wo- 
man would be united with the prodigi- 
ous ftrength and terrific bulk of the ele- 

No lefs charming, likewife, would be 
the advantages arifing from an aflbciation 
of the fair fex with dragons, as is evident 
from the Hiftory of the Dragon, who 
was in love with an Etolian woman. 
For he ufed (fays Plutarch) to vifit her 
in the night, and creeping under her gar- 
ments to her very fkin, embraced her 
naked body ; and never, either volun- 
tarily or involuntarily, injured her, but 
always departed very gallantly about 
break of day, but the relations of the 


Tht Rights of Brutes. 79 

woman obferving that this was the 
cuftom of the dragon, removed her to a 
confiderable diftance from this amorous 
fpot« After this the dragon was not 
feen for the fpace of three or four days ; 
being all this time, as it feemed, wander* 
ing in fearch of hen But at length hav- 
ing with great difficulty found out the 
place of her abode, he accofted her fome- 
what lefs gallant and gentle than before ; 
and with the folds of his body, having 
firft bound her hands and arms, he laftied 
the calves of her legs, with the end of 
his tail ; expreflingby this means a gentle 
and loving anger, which contained more 
of indulgent expostulation than punish- 

F 4 Plutarch 

8o Tht Rights of Brutes. 

Plutarch adds, that he fhall fay no- 
thing refpe&ing a goofe in Egypt in love 
with a boy ; nor of the ram in love with 
Gkuce that played on the harp, becaufev 
(fays he) the ftory is well known to every 
one. Indeed the inftances already ad- 
duced are fufficient to convince the faga- 
cious reader, that prodigious benefits mud 
arife from the mutual converfe and co- 
pulation of fpecies, which have hitherto 
been confidered as unallicd and inimical 
to each other. 

And here I cannot refrain from men- 
tioning a moft fingular advantage, which 
would arife from an aflbciation with dogs, 
when their language is perfe&ly under- 
ftood by us ; the advantage I allude to, 
refpe&s a thing of no lefs importance than 


The Rights (f Brutes. 8t 

the inftruftion of youth in one of the 
tnoft interefting particulars belonging to 
juvenile tuition. Every one knows how 
univerfally prevalent the pra&ice of felf- 
pollution is become amongft children ; and 
how dreadful its confequences are in debi* 
litating the conftitution, and corrupting 
the morals of the unhappy youths who 
are the votaries of this deteftable vice. 
Now that extraordinary genius, Mrs* 
Wollftonecraft, propofes the following 
remedy for this pernicious pra&ice, in 
that great work of hers, called, Elements 
of Morality for Children* i—" I am tho- 
roughly perfuaded (fays fhe) that the moft 
efficacious method to root out this dreadful 
evil, which poifons the fource of human 
happinefs, would be to fpeak to children 

# Page 1 4 of the Introductory Addrefs. 


82 The Rights of Brutes. 

of the organs of generation as freely as 
we fpeak of the other parts of the body, 
and explain to them the noble ufe, which 
they were defigned for, and how they may 
be injured/' She adds, " I have con- 
verged with the moft fenfible fchool- 
mafters on this fubjeft, and they have 
confirmed me in my opinion. " This plan 
is beyond all doubt a moft ftriking proof 
of her uncommon capacity, and the truth 
of her grand theory, the equality $f the fe- 
male nature with the male\ for whoever 
confiders this affair with the attention it 
deferves, muft be convinced, that if chil- 
dren were but told how the genital parts 
may be injured, and how they are to be 
employed in a natural way, they would 
not have the leaf! curiofity to make any 


Tfje Rights of Brutes. 83 

experiments, which might tend to fruftrate 
the benevolent intention of nature. 

But however great and original this 
thought may be, yet it woulcf certainly be 
very much improved, by committing the 
inftru&ion of youth in this particular to 
dogs ; for thefe fagacious animals, all 
of whom appear to be Cynic philofophers, 
would not only be very well calculated to 
explain the noble ufe for which the parts 
were defigned, but would be very willing, 
at any time, and in any place, to give 
them fpecimens of the operation of the 
parts in the natural way. Not to men- 
tion, that they would likewife teach them 
how to get above thofe foolifh habits, de- 
cency and fliame, which falfe opinion firft 


84. The Rights of Brutes. 

introduced, and ridiculous cuflom after- 
wards has fo deeply confirmed. 

"But we mud not yet difmifs the ele- 
phant ; fince it appears that thefe won- 
derful animals are no lefs calculated to 
a£t the part of furgeons, than to pleafe 
the fair. " For being brought (fays 
Plutarch) to perfons that are wounded, 
they will extradt the heads of fpears and 
arrows from their bodies, with a very 
fmall degree of pain, and without dila- 
cerating and mangling the flefh." Now 
the advantages which would refult to apo* 
thecaries and phyficians, from entering 
into partnership with thefe animals, are 
fo important, that they will doubtlefs be 
greedily embraced by all the medical 


The Rights of Brutes. $5 

tribe. For in the fir ft place, with refpedfc 
to apothecaries, it is well known, that 
they are obliged to aft in the double ca- 
pacity of phyficians and furgeons, which 
caufes their employment to be very labo- 
rious, efpeciaily to thofe of the lowed 
clafs, who belong to the order of the foot. 
For thefe gentlemen are divided into three 
tribes, the firft and higheft confiding of 
thofe who fublimely ride to their patients 
in chariots, without footmen; the fecond, 
of thofe who ride to the fick on horfeback ; 
and the third tribe, which is by far the 
mod numerous, being compofed of thofe 
who vifit their patients on foot ; and who 
in wet weather arm themfelves with a 
great coat and umbrella ; and in fine, 
with a fafhionable cane. Now thefe gen- 
tlemen, by fpeaking to the elephant, and 


86 The Rights of Brutes. 

perfuading thefe noble animals to become 
their partners, would derive the following 
amazing advantages from ftich an aflb- 
ciation ; for they might ride on the backs 
of their elephants, and might commit the 
whole furgical department to the entire 
management of thefe bulky beafts : not to 
mention, that as the weight of one man 
muft be very inconsiderable to an elephant, 
they might with eafe carry all forts of 
remedies upon the backs of their aflfo- 
ciates, and thus fave a prodigious deal of 
time, trouble and expence, by admi- 
niftering medicines on the fpot. 

And in the fecond place, as to phyfi- 
cians, riding on the elephant would fave 
them the expence of a carriage ; and this 
beaft being fo remarkably ftrong, they 


The Rights of Brutes. 87 

might eafily have a large cheft fattened to 
his back, for the purpofe of depofiting 
their fees, which at prefent, in confe- 
quence of being fecured in their waift- 
coat pockets, they find very troublefome, 
from their quantity and weight. 

But the elephant is not the only beaft 
with which the medical tribe might a(To- 
ciate, to great advantage ; for many other 
animals are as capable of forming great 
phyficians, as elephants are of becoming 
incomparable furgeons. " For we may 
obferve (fays Plutarch) in other animals, 
a three-fold innate pra&ice of medicine. 
Thus, for inftance, tortoifes make ufe of 
bafilf and weafels eat rice, when they have 
devoured a ferpent ; and dogs purge them- 
felves from abounding bile, with a parti- 

88 The Rights of Brutes. 

cular kind of grafs ; the dragon fharpens 
the dimnefs of his fight with fennel ; and 
the bear, when fhe leaves her cave, after 
long emaciation, feeds upon the herb 
called wild dragons ; becaufe the acrimony 
of this herb opens and feparates her in- 
teftines, when they are clung together. 
At other times, when fatiated with food, 
fhe repairs to the emmet-hills, and thriv- 
ing out her tongue, all foft and undluous, 
through the fweet kind of (lime with 
which it is inveloped, till it is crowded 
with emmets, fhe at length fwallows 
them, and thus recovers her health : and 
it is reported, that the Egyptians obferve 
and imitate the bird called Ibis, in purg- 
ing and cleanfing her bowels with the 
briny water of the fea« Hence the priefts, 
when they purify themfelves, make ufc of 


The Rights of Brutes. 89 

the water of which the Ibis has drank ; 
for thefe birds will not drink the water, 
if it be medicinal, or otherwife infe&ed. 
There are likewife fome beafts that cure 
themfelves by abftinence, as wolves and 
lions, who, when they are over-gorged 
with animal food, lie ftill, and digeft their 
crudities by the warmth of one another's 

Now as there is no reafon whatever to 
doubt the truth of thefe relations, fuch 
fpecimens of medical (kill muft convince 
the moft incredulous, that when thefe 
animals are tamed through their aflb- 
ciation with mankind, we may expeft to 
fee phyficians equal to the moft illuftrious 
among men, in the perfons of bears, 
dragons and weafels ; and till all diftinc- 

G tions 

90 The Rights of Brutes. 

tions among mankind are levelled, (an 
event which it is to be hoped will fhortly 
happen) I do not fee why an elephant 
may not become the king's principal fur- 
geon, and a bear his phyfician in ordi- 
nary, as foon as the language of beafts is 
univerfally known, or at lead underftood, 
by the principal perfons at court. 


The Rights of Brutes. 91 


That Magptes are naturally Muficians ; 
Oxen Arithmeticians; and Dogs Actors. 

JCjUT let us now fee what advantages 
we might derive from an amicable aflTo- 
ciation with other animals, fuch as mag- 
pies, oxen, and dogs. And to begin with 
the magpie, the following ftory, from 
the above-mentioned treatife of Plutarch, 
indifputably proves that this bird naturally 
poflbfles mufical abilities in the moft ex- 
traordinary degree. 

" A certain barber in Rome, who had 

a (hop dixedlly oppofite to the Temple, 

G 2 which 

92 The Rights of Brutes. 

which is called the Greek's Market, bred 
in his houfe a miraculous kind of a mag- 
pie, who was perpetually chattering with 
the greateft variety imaginable ; fomc- 
times imitating human fpeech ; fome- 
times talking in thofe wild notes peculiar 
to her nature ; and fometimes humming 
the founds of wind inftruments. Nor 
was all this the refult of any conftraint, 
but the confequence of that extraordinary 
ambition, by which fhe accuftomed her- 
felf to leave nothing unfpoken, and no- 
thing that her imitation fhould not 

It happened that a certain perfon of the 
wealthier fort, and lately dead in the 
neighbourhood, was carried out to be 
buried, with a great number of trumpets 


The Rights of Brutes. 93 

before him. Now becaufe it was the 
cuftom of the bearers to refl themfelves 
before the barber's (hop ; the trumpeters, 
who were excellent in their art, and were 
commanded fo to do, (lopped a long time 
at this place, playing on their inftruments 
all the while. 

But after that day, the magpie was en- 
tirely mute, not fo much as uttering the 
tifual notes, by which (lie called for what 
(lie wanted ; fo that paficngers who before 
admired the. loquacity of the bird, were 
now much more furprifed at her fudden 
filence ; and many fufpeSed her to have 
been poifoned by perfons affe&ing pecu- 
liar flvill in teaching thofe kind of birds ; 
but the greatcft number were of opinion, 
that the noife of the trumpets had ftupi- 

G 3 fied 

9+ The Rights of Brutes. 

fied her hearing, and that in confequence 
of this fhe was likewife deprived of the 
ufe of her voice. 

But indeed the caufe of her unufual 
filcnce was not the refult of either of thefe 
cffe&s ; but arofe from her retiring to 
exercife by herfelf, the imitation of what 
fhe had heard, and to fit and prepare her 
voice, to exprefs in the fame manner as 
the infiruments what /he had learnt ; for 
foon after fhe fuddenly made her appear- 
ance, but had quitted all her former imi- 
tations, founding nothing but the mufic 
of the trumpets, and obferving all the 
changes and cadences of the harmony, 
with an inconceivable exaftnefs of 


Tf?e Right* of Brutes. 9$ 

Now from this curious hiftory, it evi- 
dently follows, that magpies, when pro- 
perly disciplined, (their language being 
perfectly known to us), might in time 
form a mufical band equal to that at 
Vauxhall; and thus being employed in- 
(lead of men, by the proprietors of that 
elegant place, might fave them a prodi- 
gious expence ; fince it docs not appear 
from any accounts, ancient or modern, 
that either birds or beads are money- 
getting animals. 

Ecfidcs, they would form admirable 
clerks for diflenting meeting-houfes ; for 
as the diflcnters have a great objc£tion to 
inftrumental mufic in divine fervice, not 
becaufe of the harmony, but becaufe it is 
inftrumental, the magpie by his imitative 

G 4 art 

96 The Rights of Brutes. 

art would prefent them with all the variety 
of inftrumental melody, and yet it would 
be ftri&ly vocal. 

The loquacity indeed of thefe birds 
appears to be fo admirable, that I fee no 
reafon why they might not become ex- 
cellent methodift parfons ; for they could 
doubtlefs as well imitate vehement de- 
clamation, and vociferate barbaric cant, 
as counterfeit the found of the trumpet, 
and utter the apparently wild notes of 

And thus much for the magpie:— let 
us now proceed to the ox, who has been 
unjuftly characterized with the epithet of 
dull; as the following hiftory will abun- 
dantly evince. 

" At 

The Rights of Brutes. 97 

u At Sufa (fays Plutarch) there are oxen 
that water the King's gardens with port- 
able buckets, of which the number is 
fixed ; for every ox carries a hundred 
buckets every day ; and more than this, 
you cannot by any means force them to 
carry. For indeed, when conftraint has 
been ufed for experiment's fake, nothing 
could make them ftir after they had car- 
ried their full number ; fuch an accurate 
account do they take, and preferve in 
their memory, as Ctefias, the Gnidian, 

Now who can doubt after reading this, 
but that if the fame pains were taken with 
oxen, as we take with our youth, they 
would become excellent arithmeti- 
cians; and by being taught to write 


98 The Rights of Brutes. 

with their hoofs (which is furely no more 
impra&icablc than for a man to write 
with his toes, and which we all know is 
poflible) might form admirable bankers 
and merchants clerks, or indeed bankers 
and merchants themfelves ; and from 
their indifference to gold, in common 
with all animals but man, by depofiting 
their gains in the Treafury, might help 
to pay off the national debt. 

Nor are dogs lefs calculated by nature 
to become great aflors, than oxen to 
form good arithmeticians, as the follow- 
ing ftory will, no doubt, fully convince 
the managers of both the theatres. 

" There was a dog at Rome (fays 
Plutarch) belonging to a certain mimic, 


The Rights of Brutes. 99 

who at that time had the management 
of a farce, confiding of a great variety 
of parts ; in the performance of which 
he undertook to infiruft the aflors, by 
teaching them the feveral imitations pro- 
per for the tranfjftions and paflions re- 
presented in the farce. Among the reft 
there was one who was to drink a flecpy 
potion, and after he had drank it, was 
to fall into a deadly drowfinefs, and 
counterfeit the a£lions of a dying perfon. 
The dog, who had fludted feveral of the 
other gefiurcs and pofhires, obferving this 
with greater attention, took a piece of 
bread that was fopped in the potion, and 
in a (hort time after he had eat it, coun- 
terfeited a trembling, then a daggering, 
and afterwards a drowfinefs, in his head. 
Then ftretching hiinfelf out, he lay as if 


ico The Rights of Brutes. 

he had been dead ; and feemed to offer 
himfelf to be dragged out of the place, 
and carried to burial, as the plot of the 
play required. But afterwards under- 
ftanding the proper time, from what was 
faid and aded ; in the firfi place he began 
gently to flir, as if waking out of a pro- 
found deep, and lifting up his head, gaz- 
ed on all around him : and then to the 
amazement of the beholders, he rofe Dp 
and went to the mafler to whom he be- 
longed, with all the figns of joy and 
fawning kindnefs ; fo that all the fpec- 
tators, and even Cxfar himfelf (for old 
Vefpafian was prefent in Marcellus's 
Theatre) were highly pleafed with the 


7 hi Rights of Brut ts. IOJ 

It appears to me, I confefs from this 
relation that the dog muft have afted in a 
manner equal to Garrick himfelf : and it 
is to be hoped, that the managers of our 
theatres, in confequence of paying proper 
attention to this wonderful flory, will, 
in a fhort time, bring on the fbge dogs 
and puppies, to aft at lcaft jointly with 
men, till the language of thefe animals 
is known in common ; and when that 
much to be defired event (hall take place, 
that they will fuffcr them to aft by them- 
felves, to the infinite delight of number- 
lefs fpeftators ; for furely when puppies 
aft, the theatres will be uncommonly 

I might here enlarge greatly on the 
prodigious benefits which would arife to 


102 The Rights of Brutes. 

mankind from affociating with fifhcs, 
through the means of a fubmarine navi- 
gation, which Bifiiop Wilkins has de- 
monftrated to be pra&icable, in his in- 
genious treatife on Mathematical Magic ; 
but this would too much exceed the limits 
of the prefent work. However, if the 
leader is defirous of obtaining perfe& 
convi&ion in this particular, he need 
only confult the latter part of the fo often 
mentioned curious treatife of Plutarch, and 
he will find that fifhes are no lefs fugaci- 
ous than land animals ; and that of courfe 
the advantages arifing from refloring them 
to their natural equality with mankind, 
are not lefs numerous and great, than 
thofe we have already taken notice of, in 
the terreftrial and aerial tribes. 


The Rights of Brutes. 1 03 

And thus much may fuffice, for an 
hiflorical proof, that brutes arc equal to 
mem It only now remains (and this 
mud be the province of fome abler hand) 
to demonftrate the fame great truth in a 
fimilar manner, of vegetables, minerals, 
and even the raoft apparently contempti- 
ble clod of earth ; that thus this fublime 
theory being copioufly and accurately 
difcuifed, and its truth eftablifhed by an 
indifputable ferics of fa£ts, government 
may be entirely fubverted, fubordination 
abolifhcd, and all things every where, and 
in every refpeft, be common to all. 


Dote Due 

HflY 15 I 


DEL 7 £-1 



•EB 6^ 



T 1 i 1M1 

*w I I LWL 



, , , - 

A vindication of the rights of main 
827. 7T246v 1966 C.3 

3 12t.2 D3350 2732